The importance of compassion – but don’t forget to be wise
Lately I’ve kinda been into Buddhist mode again. During college I first got introduced to the teachings of the Buddha, but apart from a feeling of recognition I never really got into Buddhism. The last year has brought significant changes in my life. Old pain came creeping up to the surface and I had to deal with it. Coincidental or not, but when I experienced the most difficult phase, I found out about an English Buddhist monk called Ajahn Brahm.
Hearing this monk speak, with passion, compassion and a good dose of English humor, I heard a lot of answers I was searching for so long. And it made me realize that it’s perfectly fine to find my own way (be it in Buddhism or any other wisdom tradition). I don’t have to become a monk to study the teachings. I don’t have to be perfect to become wiser and more compassionate. All these things which are so obvious, were somehow kept away from me for all these years. By myself. And that’s one of the great ‘powers’ of Ajahn Brahm. He knows his human psychology. Give people back their feeling of worthiness, of self empowerment. Otherwise they will never be able to take full responsibilities for their lifes.
When I was struggling with life, something came to the surface. I realized it was time to ask for help. I couldn’t do it all by myself. There is interdependence in the world, nothing exists by itself. I depend on others just as much as they depend on me. When I reached out, I was overwhelmed by all the help I received from others. I have never dared to expect so much compassion and love and help, but I got it anyway. It helped me to get up again, to crawl out of the pit of self-pity and lack of self-love and rebuild my confidence and self-esteem. Ajahn Brahm helped me to find the inner source of strength and wisdom again. He wants us to become more and more human, by helping us being humane. To feed our hearts which have had to suffer for so long now. As Lao Tzu said: Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; show him how to catch fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.
The interesting thing is that I didn’t just learn from Ajahn Brahm. In the course of many years there have been countless teachers and teachings. I always regarded everything as my teacher. So I feel gratitude for all who have helped me along the path either by blocking my way or helping me get over or around the blockade. We tend to forget those who have obstructed us, but don’t they teach us the most valuable lessons? But it can take years before lessons reveal themselves. When I got confronted by old pain, a reminiscence of something which happened in my past, at first I was overwhelmed and shocked. Do I really need to deal with this? Do I really need to look at this again? I thought I had somehow overcome it all, but in the end it turned out I only put it away deep inside in the dark.